Watch: The first ‘Negro Kiss’ on film and its impact in ‘Keeping Black History Alive’
A silent short shot in 1898, "Something Good - Negro Kiss" is the first film featuring footage of African Americans showing affection.
“Something Good – Negro Kiss” is the first known film with footage featuring African Americans showing love. A short film shot in 1898, it shows two vaudeville performers, Gertie Brown and Saint Suttle, enacting a scene of affection and joy.
For audiences back then, this was quite daring and bold. During that time, they could only experience Black performers through minstrel shows.
The scene in “Something Good – Negro Kiss” is a playful exchange that resembles Thomas Edison’s “The Kiss,” an 1896 short that frequently played at the end of movies. Directed by pioneering Chicago filmmaker William Selig, “Negro Kiss” offered viewers a parallel to Edison’s offering in a way that also introduced Blacks in America to new heights of visibility, performance — and possibility.
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